Andy Murray will look to breathe some life into his poor 2017 so far, with the World No.1 taking on wildcard Marius Copil in his opening match in Madrid. The Romanian once more gets his wildcard due to the head of the tournament Ion Tiriac despite being outside the top 100 and never showing much to suggest he would be a mainstay at the top level of tennis.
Murray was a semi finalist in Madrid, eventually losing to Dominic Thiem at that stage. He needed a final set tie break to beat Albert Ramos in the previous round although it was a slight improvement on the three set loss he suffered to the same opponent in Monte Carlo. Murray is now 11th in the race and will have to improve fast if he wants to fight off the eventual expected challenge of Novak Djokovic when it comes to year end no.1 that he took last year.
Meanwhile, Copil is 3-5 at ATP level on the year although he pushed Roberto Bautista Agut to three sets in Munich before his opening round victory against Guillermo Garcia Lopez on Monday. The Romanian saved two match points before eventually coming through the final set tiebreak 11-9.
A winner in 2015 and a losing finalist in 2016, Murray will hope to go deep here and will be happy to not have to play Nadal or Djokovic until the final, if at all. “I like it here. I played well, especially the last few years. I think the altitude helps my game a little bit on the clay, makes the conditions a little bit quicker, which I like.” he said of the tournament. Hopefully for him, more favourable conditions should see the World No.1 go on a run and establish himself as a contender for the French Open, which begins later in the month.
Prediction – Andy Murray in straight sets